Hanover deputy suspended for neglect of duty
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 11:00 AM
The Hanover Town Council suspended a deputy marshal for three days Tuesday after it determined the officer mishandled evidence in a drug case and was guilty of neglect of duty and using abusive and threatening language to the town marshal.
Elston Boldery, who joined the Hanover Police Department in 2008, will be suspended without pay for three days and be required to undergo bullying and sexual harassment training offered by the town.
The town held a lengthy executive session and discipline hearing for Boldery on Monday, which by law was not open to the public. The town voted 4-0 on Tuesday in favor of the suspension and public reprimand.
Council president Debbie Kroger recused herself from Monday's discipline hearing and was not present Tuesday night.
Town attorney Josh Stigdon read the council's decision with Boldery present.
The incidents cited in the case began in February, but Boldery was suspended with pay on April 30 when the town launched its investigation into the alleged misconduct, according to the town's discipline report.
The report said that Boldery was informally disciplined by Chief Ron Kroger for failing to follow orders in writing a report in reference to a domestic dispute in February.
On April 9, it was reported that 19 items of evidence from a drug case had been placed in Boldery's desk and patrol car and were not properly logged in the evidence locker. The evidence had been unlogged for seven months, the council reported.
The council found Boldery guilty of mishandling evidence but added that it "does not believe the mishandling of the evidence was intentional or made with bad faith," the report said.
Also in April, Ron Kroger reported that Boldery become confrontational and cursed at him. That same month, a town employee reported that Boldery made inappropriate sexual remarks and provided a movie with explicit sex scenes, the report said.
On Monday, Boldery testified to mishandling the evidence and "candidly admitted" to swearing at Ron Kroger, the report said.
The council reported that Monday's executive hearing also included testimony from several individuals who spoke on Boldery's behalf to his good moral character and excellent abilities as a police officer.
As a result of the hearing, the town said it needs bullying and sexual harassment prevention training for all Hanover employees.
On Tuesday, the town held the first reading of its proposed bullying and harassment policy, which defines bullying as demeaning verbal comments, persistent name calling, inappropriate gesturing, physical bullying and exclusion.
In other business:
Ron Kroger requested the purchase and installation of two cameras - one inside and one outside - at the town hall building. The project would cost about $800. The camera footage would be linked to the police department office.
In addition to the security measures, Kroger said the police department needs to upgrade its safety vests. Indiana requires law enforcement agencies to purchase new vests once every five years.
Kroger said this year the department needs six vests that will cost about $600 each. He told the Council that he has applied for a grant that will cover half of the expenses but has not been given an answer.
Council member Treva Shelton requested that the Council hold off on the purchases until the town hears back about the grants so it does not exhaust the police equipment fund.
The town will work to revamp its employee vacation policy.
Based on the town's current policy, Street Superintendent Scott Williams said employees are sometimes not given their full vacation pay upon leaving a position with the town.
The town's policy requires that employees only receive a full vacation buyout if they work past July 1 - or half the year. Williams said the current system does make sense because employees earn those vacation hours in advance for the entire year and should not have them taken away.
He said an employee who has been with the town for 10 years and is leaving in two weeks for another job is in a situation where he will lose out on 28 vacation hours.
The town agreed that the vacation policy needs to be adjusted. That board plans to discuss amending the ordinance at its next meeting.
The Council accepted a contract with new commercial insurance provider Scottsdale Insurance. The contract will cost about $42,000 a year and include coverage for acts of terrorism. The switch, which will come June 1, came because of higher deductible rates by the town's current provider.